Ethiopia: AU focus on hydro project Imprimir
Escrito por Africa News   
Lunes 01 de Febrero de 2010 00:00

Akosombo hydro-electric damAddis Ababa, Ethiopia: Continued economic developments across the continent have necessitated the need to expedite the implementation of a massive hydro power project by the African Union (AU).

The project dubbed ‘Hydropower 2020’ is an initiative of the African Union that seeks to increase power generation capacity for Africa and enhance socio-economic development across the continent.

Studies have shown that Africa has enormous potential for hydropower development because of its adequate water resources both perennial and non-perennial which needs to be harnessed for socio-economic development.

However, lack of financial support and ever-increasing infrastructure developments in Africa have inhibited the continent’s ability to exploit these vast natural resources.

It is for this reason that through the financial support of the European Union, the AU has commenced the upgrading of the continent’s power generation capacity, in order to meet growing demand for electricity and clean energy.

The European Union (EU) has offered to finance the project, with an initial financial support of US$10 million. The Hydropower 202o project funded the by EU will target identified sites in different parts of the continent.


African Commission president, Jean Ping has indicated that remarkable progress has been made towards the Hydropower 2020 project.

Ping said in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Abba that continental projects under Hydropower 2020 are on-going.

“I would like to point out that the Hydropower 2020 of which the European Union has promised to finance to the tune of 10 million euro is currently underway. The initiative to establish continental hydropower station is underway. Feasibility studies for setting up hydropower stations are being carry out at Inga dam in Democratic Republic of Congo, Gilgel Gibe in East Africa, OMVG in West Africa and Kafue Gorge Lower in southern Africa. Let me salute the World Bank for accepting to facilitate the final implementation of these regional projects of which once completed they will enhance development on our continent,” he said.

Africa has 14% of the world’s population but only 4% of the global energy.
Majority of Africans live in rural areas using traditional biomass for cooking.
Africa has enormous potential for hydropower development because it has one of the biggest hydropower potentials in the world but currently uses only a fraction of this potential.

According to the 2008 Ministerial Conference on Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa, the total installed capacity is 21 000MW, 90% of which are concentrated in eight countries namely Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zambia, Madagascar and Mozambique.

Currently, Africa’s installed hydropower capacity is about 20.3GW with a total generation from hydro plant of about 76 000 GWh/year. Comparison with the gross theoretical hydropower potential of 4 000, 000 indicates that the current production of hydropower in Africa is about 20% of the total potential.

Technically feasible hydropower potential of Africa is around 1 750TWh which is about 12% of the global capacity. Only 5% of this technical feasible potential is exploited. Hydropower potential of the continent is estimated around 100 000 MW, the bulk of which can be found in the INGA in the Congo basin.